How an iPad And a Laser Uncovered a Way to Hack Smart Home Devices

In spring 2018, cybersecurity researcher Takeshi Sugawara found that point a laser at an iPad’s Microphone converted the light into sound. Then, according to Wired, he discovered the same technique could hack smart home devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Sugawara pointed a high-powered laser at the microphone of his iPad—all inside of a black metal box, to avoid burning or blinding anyone—and had Fu put on a pair of earbuds to listen to the sound the iPad’s mic picked up. As Sugawara varied the laser’s intensity over time in the shape of a sine wave, fluctuating at about 1,000 times a second, Fu picked up a distinct high-pitched tone. The iPad’s microphone had inexplicably converted the laser’s light into an electrical signal, just as it would with sound. Six months later Sugawara—visiting from the Tokyo-based University of Electro-Communications—along with Fu and a group of University of Michigan researchers have honed that curious photoacoustic quirk into something far more disturbing.

Check It Out: How an iPad And a Laser Uncovered a Way to Hack Smart Home Devices

One thought on “How an iPad And a Laser Uncovered a Way to Hack Smart Home Devices

  • I really believe that people will look back in a decade and wonder what people today were thinking. Most of these “smart devices” are not necessary, and as this shows are just another security vulnerability. Thanks but no. Nobody is going to hack my locks, or thermostat, or blinds, or garage door, or exterior motion sensor lights, thank you very much. The “dumb” technologies that have been in use for decades, centuries in the case of my door locks just work. Nobody is going to trigger them with a laser from across the street, or hack into them via my WiFi network, or use them to spy on my home.

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